Mel Gibson's Bigotry

I'm sure everyone knows by now that Mel Gibson was arrested for drunk driving on Friday. When he was arrested, he was apparently quite belligerant and ranted at the officers arresting him, threatening them and hurling anti-semitic slurs. Even more important, the LA Times is reporting that the LA County Sheriff's Department issued an abridged complaint that cleaned up what was in the original complaint, erasing the threats and anti-semitic remarks. has a PDF of the original deputy's report of what happened at the scene, and notes that an audiotape was made at the scene that confirms what was there. I'll post some of the highlights below the fold:

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, "You mother f****r. I'm going to f*** you." The report also says "Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he 'owns Malibu' and will spend all of his money to 'get even' with me."

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: "F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." Gibson then asked the deputy, "Are you a Jew?"

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson's tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, "What the f*** do you think you're doing?"

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, "What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?"

We're told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how "f****d" he was and how he was going to "f***" Deputy Mee.

Then there are the accusations of a cover up:

Deputy Mee then wrote an eight-page report detailing Gibson's rampage and comments. Sources say the sergeant on duty felt it was too "inflammatory." A lieutenant and captain then got involved and calls were made to Sheriff's headquarters. Sources say Mee was told Gibson's comments would incite a lot of "Jewish hatred," that the situation in Israel was "way too inflammatory." It was mentioned several times that Gibson, who wrote, directed, and produced 2004's "The Passion of the Christ," had incited "anti-Jewish sentiment" and "For a drunk driving arrest, is this really worth all that?"

We're told Deputy Mee was then ordered to write another report, leaving out the incendiary comments and conduct. Sources say Deputy Mee was told the sanitized report would eventually end up in the media and that he could write a supplemental report that contained the redacted information -- a report that would be locked in the watch commander's safe.

Initially, a Sheriff's official told TMZ the arrest occurred "without incident." On Friday night, Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told TMZ: "The L.A. County Sheriff's Department investigation into the arrest of Mr. Gibson on suspicion of driving under the influence will be complete and will contain every factual piece of evidence. Nothing will be sanitized. There was absolutely no favoritism shown to this suspect or any other. When this file is presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney, it will contain everything. Nothing will be left out."

No one should be surprised by the anti-semitic slurs. Gibson's father, notoriously, is part of a virulently anti-semitic sect of Catholicism and is a holocaust denier. And while Gibson has always said that he shouldn't be held responsible for his father's views, he has spent millions of dollars promoting and building churches for that bizarre group of whackos, so it's pretty clear he agrees with him.

Gibson released a statement yesterday in which he blamed the whole thing on his "disease of alcoholism". Every time I hear about the "disease" of alcoholism, my teeth get set on edge. Alcoholism is not a disease. And the only thing that blaming this kind of behavior on alcohol does is make him both an asshole and a drunk.

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C'mon, am I the only one who thought of his character in the Lethal Weapon series when he said "Sugar Tits" and chuckled?

After a night of drinking at our apartment, when all of us had gone to sleep, a roommate decided to drive to his mom's place at four in the morning. He'd never done anything like this before to our knowledge, and he was already at home, so none of us had any idea that we needed to do anything like hide his keys.

So yeah, I could see someone drunk enough to not realize driving home was a bad idea. But like the roommate (who totalled his truck, but got off without injury), that just means a reduced sentence on the first offence and mandatory councilling; it dosen't actually excuse his actions, nor does it address the anti-semitism in any way, shape or form.

I sort of come at this from another direction. I ate this story up when it was first released, but on further reflection, I've soured on the feeding frenzy. It's the perfect "I couldn't have imagined a juicier story" storm, and just desserts in many ways (though the "finally, that quirky conservative Christian that opposes Bush's war gets his embarrasing comeuppance!" is a bit off key).

But I know that when someone does something like this, anything they do to apologize or make amends is jumped on as insufficient or not enough (but he didn't outline and repeat exactly everything he said and did and apologize for each one in bullet points!!!). But all and all, I thought his apology was pretty decent. Sure, he blamed it on alcoholism, and yes, he has a vision of alcoholism you and I don't share. But it was also a pretty satisfying flat out admission of responsibility and shame (he didn't say "alcohol did it" he said "I regret relapsing into a drunken mess and acting like a dick"). I don't think he had much choice, in lieu of the audiotape, but I'm still more willing to accept it at face value as part of an ongoing dialouge. I'm not as inclined as I was to beat this particular horse so hard after that.

And the response of the ADL: demanding he be ostracised and charges brought on race hate laws just turns me right off.

I know of Gibson's sort of bigotry. It's not a proud bigotry. It's something you get when you're young before you even know what it is yet, that becomes part of you, and that you most of the time shove down, and pops up at your weakest and laziest. You can definately play all sorts of games about what it really means, and if it explains all sorts of other behaviors and alliegences. But mostly that's just the sort of BS psycho-analysis that Charles Krauthammer practices. Anyone that says something like Foxman's "It appears that the combination of liquor and arrest has revealed his true character." is just a gleeful PR vulture, not something giving an honest appraisal of anything.

Hopefully this incident will spur Gibson to take more seriously the criticisms leveled at him and Passion, which he seemed to glibly dismiss.

But thugs like Foxman, who support laws against thoughts instead of engaging and opposing hate with words, I can't be on that side of things either.

Isn't it interesting that the one thing Mel hasn't become addicted reality?

Plunge makes some good points, but the curious thing for many observers is why the "Jewish" question would even come up in this context, unless it was a constant and grim preoccupation of this man. Being pulled over for DWI might understandably(?) result in a deranged rant against the perfidiousness of cops with radar guns, but Jews? I've seen my share of mean drunks, and while their inebriation-induced lunacy is never pretty, it's usually directed at a more proximate target. Mr. Gibson's recent trail of poorly-disguised anti-Semitism suggests something more than a deeply suppressed learned bigotry.

I've got to agree with drb on this.

Alcohol reduces inhibition, it doesn't make you a bigot when you weren't one a few hours earlier. Mel's filters weren't working, is all.

I'm not so sure. Alcohol can make some people do and say really crazy things, especially if this was his first time off the wagon. I'd say that the probability may be as high as 2% that he said something that he didn't fully mean.

He'll be a hoot at the afterparty when they wrap up the holocaust movie.

"Alcohol reduces inhibition, it doesn't make you a bigot when you weren't one a few hours earlier. Mel's filters weren't working, is all."

This is the myth of alcohol being a truth serum. But it isn't. Drunks aren't more honest (in fact, they're generally LESS honest as people). They are certainly easier to trick or goad into saying something they wold normally keep private. But they are also just as likely to say wild things JUST TO BE an asshole. Drunks often act how they think people think of them as being. There's not necessarily any logical way to derive back someone's true feelings from a drunk person. The thought process of a drunk can be just as random and rambly as their speech.

I wasn't arguing that drunks are more honest people.

What I'm saying is that drinking alcohol doesn't suddenly make you an anti-semite bigot when you weren't one a few hours earlier. In Gibson's case, there is a history of financial support of a "virulently anti-semitic" church. I think it's pretty clear where he's coming from and that it wasn't just the booze talking, but that his filters were off.

It doesn't mean drunks are more honest- it just means being drunk doesn't change your worldview. This is not really the same thing as impaired impulse control. Unless you have impulses to rave about the jews, that is. Impaired impulse control might make you tell a racist or inappropriate joke, or to say something stupid or rude you later will regret. Maybe even it will cause you to beat your wife. It will not however, make soemone who

We could get Ann Coulter completely bombed and see if she says anything sane, though. Just to see.

Crap. I hate posting from work. I always try over lunch and get interupted. Then I hit "post" because I don't want to lose everything...

Oh well. You get the idea.